NBA playoff standings: Bulls earn separation from Hawks, Thunder take lead over Spurs

USA TODAY Sports

Four playoff-bound teams played on Thursday night in the NBA. Here's how the outcomes affected the playoff brackets in each conference.

The Chicago Bulls and Oklahoma City Thunder fought hard to earn separation in the standings on Thursday night and now both teams control their own destinies. Nate Robinson's 35 points on 10-18 shooting helped Chicago snap the Knicks' 13-game win streak and pull a half-game ahead of the Atlanta Hawks for the No. 5 seed in the Eastern Conference. Kevin Durant's 31 points on 10-of-16 shooting, 10 rebounds and eight assists in 30 minutes stifled the Warriors and pushed OKC a half-game in front of the Spurs for the No. 1 seed in the West.

With only a few games left on their schedules, if the Thunder and Bulls continue to win they will both finish the season in the spot they hold Friday. For Oklahoma City fans, the Warriors -- who are now just a half-game up on the Rockets for the No. 7 seed -- don't exactly present a scary option as a first-round opponent in comparison to the No. 8 Lakers. If OKC were to falter, it wouldn't be the end of the world. Dave Mirzaie of Thunder blog Welcome to Loud City explains:

The Thunder might face the Warriors in a potential first round match-up. This would probably be the most preferred match up for the Thunder out of the possibilities that still remain. David Lee could not defend Serge Ibaka, Klay Thompson was slowed down defensively, and Kevin Durant would've gotten a triple double had the game been any closer.

Kobe Bryant and the Lakers will travel to ORACLE Arena to take on Golden State on Friday night. The Lakers currently hold a one-game lead over the Utah Jazz, who will host the Timberwolves on Friday night.

Western W L PCT GB STRK L10
1 x - Oklahoma City 58 21 .734 - Won 2 8-2
2 y - San Antonio 57 21 .731 ½ Lost 1 5-5
3 x - Denver 54 24 .692 3 ½ Won 5 8-2
4 y - LA Clippers 52 26 .667 5 ½ Won 3 6-4
5 x - Memphis 53 25 .679 4 ½ Won 2 7-3
6 x - Golden State 45 34 .570 13 Lost 1 6-4
7 x - Houston 44 34 .564 13 ½ Won 1 7-3
8 LA Lakers 42 37 .532 16 Won 2 6-4
Utah 41 38 .519 17 Lost 1 7-3
Dallas 38 40 .487 19 ½ Lost 1 6-4
Portland 33 45 .423 24 ½ Lost 9 1-9
Minnesota 29 49 .372 28 ½ Lost 2 5-5
Sacramento 28 50 .359 29 ½ Won 1 4-6
New Orleans 27 52 .342 31 Lost 2 4-6
Phoenix 24 55 .304 34 Won 1 1-9

Eastern W L PCT GB STRK L10
1 z - Miami 62 16 .795 - Won 4 8-2
2 y - New York 51 27 .654 11 Lost 1 9-1
3 y - Indiana 49 29 .628 13 Won 1 7-3
4 x - Brooklyn 46 32 .590 16 Won 3 6-4
5 x - Chicago 43 35 .551 19 Won 1 6-4
6 x - Atlanta 43 36 .544 19 ½ Won 1 5-5
7 x - Boston 40 38 .513 22 Lost 1 4-6
8 x - Milwaukee 37 41 .474 25 Lost 2 3-7
Philadelphia 31 47 .397 31 Lost 3 5-5
Toronto 30 48 .385 32 Won 1 4-6
Washington 29 50 .367 33 ½ Lost 3 4-6
Detroit 27 52 .342 35 ½ Won 2 4-6
Cleveland 24 54 .308 38 Lost 2 2-8
Orlando 20 59 .253 42 ½ Won 1 2-8
Charlotte 18 60 .231 44 Lost 3 2-8

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